Read and weep:
“We can’t evacuate any Haitian patients to the US,” John McDonald, from the University of Miami Medical School, said. “Our country treats the Haitians like s***. The people land, they get sent back. When Cubans land, they open restaurants.”
Another doctor at the tented clinic said that she was so desperate at being forced to discharge children still in grave danger of dying from infection that she wanted to “scream and scratch people”. For want of bed space “we are sending wounded children back on to the streets of Port-au-Prince with no plan even for how they will be fed,” said Jennifer Furn, from Harvard Medical School.
Dr Furn’s task was complicated by instructions from the UN to vacate the tents by 8am yesterday. “The UN say they need these tents as a staging post for regular personnel,” Dr Furn said. “It’s breaking my heart. How can I send children with wounds and head bandages out into the streets?”
So this is ‘full American support’???
Robert Gates: “I don’t know how … [the US] government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has.”
….US President Barack Obama pledged full American support in a phone call to his Haitian counterpart Rene Preval. Source: BBC NEWS
Full ‘Katrina’ support!
I could have uploaded HORRIBLE pictures piled up with corpses, but choose not to, because I want you to be able to get some sleep.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – U.S. troops will help keep order on Haiti’s increasingly lawless streets, the country’s president said on Sunday as desperate earthquake survivors waited for food, water and medicine.
World leaders pledged massive aid programmes to rebuild Haiti but desperate earthquake survivors were still waiting on Sunday for food, water and medicine.
Five days after a 7.0 magnitude quake killed up to 200 000 people, international rescue teams clawed away at the rubble of collapsed buildings in the wrecked capital, Port-au-Prince, in a race against time to find more survivors.
But logistical logjams kept major relief from reaching the hundreds of thousands of hungry Haitians waiting for help, many of them sheltering in makeshift camps on streets strewn with debris and decomposing bodies.
“I’m going there with a very heavy heart. This is one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades. The damage, destruction, loss of life is just overwhelming,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said as he boarded a flight for Haiti on Sunday.
The United Nations was feeding 40 000 people a day and hoped to increase that to one million within two weeks, he said. “The challenge at this time is how to coordinate all of this outpouring of assistance.”
As people turned more desperate and in the widespread absence of authority, looters swarmed over collapsed stores carrying out food and anything else they could find. Fighting broke out between groups carrying knives, ice-picks, hammers and rocks.
President René Préval said 3 500 US troops will help overstretched UN peacekeepers and Haitian police guarantee security in the capital.
“We have 2 000 police in Port-au-Prince who are severely affected. And 3 000 bandits escaped from prison [during the quake]. This gives you an idea of how bad the situation is,” Preval told reporters.
But U.S. military officials declined to comment on details of their role or the rules of engagement.
Though a few street markets had begun selling vegetables and charcoal, businessmen and bank owners were demanding more security in order to reopen.
Residents awoke to find the bodies of thieves lynched by mobs or shot by men claiming to be plainclothes police. A Reuters journalist saw the burned body of a man locals said was set ablaze by angry residents who caught him stealing, and two young men lying on the ground with bullet wounds to the head and arms tied behind their backs.
“Haitians are partly taking things into their own hands. There are no jails, the criminals are running free, there are no authorities controlling this,” said teacher Eddy Toussaint, part of a crowd staring at the bodies.
Many people streamed out of the city over the weekend, on foot with suitcases on their heads or jammed in cars, to find food and shelter in the countryside.
Others crowded the airport hoping to get on planes that arrived laden with emergency supplies and left packed with Haitians. The shell-shocked government has given the U.S. military control over the tiny airport to guide aid flights from around the world.
Dozens of nations have sent planes with rescue teams, doctors, field hospitals, food, medicine and other supplies, but faced a bottleneck at the airport, where fuel was scarce. Some groups complained that their flights were diverted to the neighboring Dominican Republic, forcing them to carry emergency supplies into Haiti overland.
“The challenge at this time is how to coordinate all of this outpouring of assistance,” said Ban, adding that the United Nations was feeding 40,000 people a day and hoped to increase that to 1 million within two weeks.
SCRUMS FOR FOOD
Hundreds of trucks carrying aid and guarded by armed U.N. patrols streamed away from the airport and U.N. headquarters to different parts of the city but they were soon obstructed on streets clogged with people, debris, and vans carrying coffins and bodies.
There were jostling scrums for food and water as U.S. military helicopters swooped down to throw out boxes of water bottles and rations. A reporter also saw foreign aid workers tossing packets of food to desperate Haitians.
“The distribution is totally disorganized. They are not identifying the people who need the water. The sick and the old have no chance,” said Estime Pierre Deny, standing at the back of a crowd looking for water with his empty plastic container.
Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country and has for decades struggled with devastating storms, floods and political unrest. Around 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers have provided security since a 2004 uprising ousted one president, but the mission lost at least 40 members when its headquarters collapsed, including its top leaders.
MORE RESCUED ALIVE
Aftershocks still shook the capital, terrifying survivors and sending rubble and dust tumbling from buildings.
Three people were pulled out alive from a collapsed supermarket early on Sunday. U.S. and Turkish teams freed a young Haitian girl, a Haitian man and an American woman from the rubble of the five-story building. They were dazed but did not appear to be seriously injured.
Trucks piled with corpses were ferrying bodies to hurriedly excavated mass graves outside the city, but tens of thousands of bodies are still believed buried under the rubble.
Haitian government officials said the death toll was likely to be between 100,000 and 200,000.
Dozens of bloated bodies were decomposing in the sun outside the main hospital and its gardens were a mass of beds with injured people, with makeshift drips hanging from trees.
Haiti’s government is struggling to operate as the quake destroyed the presidential palace and knocked out communications and power. Preval is living at the judicial police headquarters and holding cabinet meetings with foreign ambassadors outside, seated on a circle of plastic chairs.
“Everything in Haiti is broken. There is not one person in the country without a friend or family member dead,” said Information Minister Marie Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue. “When they say the government is not fast, we are truly doing our best.”
(Additional reporting by Tom Brown, Catherine Bremer, Joseph Guyler Delva, Eduardo Munoz and Carlos Rawlins in Port-au-Prince, Andrew Quinn in Washington and Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations; writing by Anthony Boadle and Jane Sutton; editing by Kieran Murray)
Andrew Cawthorne and Catherine Bremer
Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:37pm EST